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Comedian wants more Emiratis to spread laughs

posted on 09/03/2014: 1987 views

Meet Shehab Al Awadi — an Emirati comedian who's pushing the boundaries in promoting performance art among the youth.

While the field of comedy among Emiratis is relatively new and has only been picked up by local talent in the last two years, a great deal of work needs to be done as there are only a handful of people that do stand-up comedy in venues around the city.

"There needs to be more representation from Emiratis, and we all have to work together as a society if we want home grown stand-up comedy. There are about five Emiratis but we need more. People should realise that they do not have to limit themselves and [should] pursue the interests they are passionate about,” said Al Awadi, who performs in English.

As 32-year-old Information Technology project manager at Emirates Airline, Al Awadi is trying to convert his passion for comedy into something more than a hobby, and also trying to inspire Emiratis to venture into any field they like, even if it is not a conventional one.

"With our government's support, we can take advantage of the opportunities that were otherwise unavailable before. With all the new ventures across the city, I was able to challenge my personal potential, especially my breadth of knowledge,” he said.

One of the most significant contributions to the comedy scene was Comedy Dubai, a group founded in April 2012 armed with the idea to build a comedy scene in the UAE and provide performers with a chance to be on stage. Al Awadi has been part of Comedy Dubai for more than one year, and through them, has been able to make regular performances at multiple venues, as well as at the Pavilion Downtown.

One of the few mainstream performance artists who are breaking the cultural barrier include comedian Ali Al Sayyed, and film director Ali Mustafa, who is best known for his box-office hit City of Life.

"I talk about everyday life and [life] from different perceptions, as that is the best place to find humour. Observational humour is one where we can all relate to, and what comedians have to realise is that humour is not about the joke's punch line, but about its structure. And that's what first-time comics forget,” he said.

When Al Awadi performs, he always maintains a level of professionalism and respects all cultures, so as not to offend anybody who may misunderstand it. The ethical approach he takes is to is to use humour that brings people together, rather than excluding certain segments of society and separating them.

"I enjoy making people laugh but it's a challenge. Part of the reason I do [comedy] is to challenge my own limitations, as opposed to restricting myself in them. If you have your mind made up and know what your passion is, then there is nothing to hold you back. Otherwise, Dubai wouldn't be the city it is today,” he added. – Gulf News – Read more:


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